Coming Across A Bear In The Forest

Back in 2003 I was an avid runner living in the San Bernardino Mountains. Several times a week I used to go running out by the Pinnacles and on hiking trails on the back side of the San Bernardino Mountains. For years I scared my family because they thought I could be attacked by a wild animal, or that someone might abduct me in the middle of nowhere. I told my family not to worry because wild animals such as mountain lions have even wandered down from the hills into the valley areas that are more urban, and people can be abducted or hurt anywhere. I was very cavalier about running out in the middle of nowhere because it is beautiful, and you can truly lose yourself out there. I miss the smell of the pines in the July heat and the aroma of the sage brush and other native bushes, but I will never go alone into the wilderness. The mountains are such a serene place, and running out in the middle of nowhere was my idealized dream come true. I grew up exploring out in the wilderness by myself as a child, and I never thought much about being there alone. That is until one day in 2003 when I came across a bear in the forest.

I came across a bear during my run in the San Bernardino Mountains.
I came across a bear during my run in the San Bernardino Mountains. | Source

Here Comes The Bear

As I was running back from the Pinnacles up in the San Bernardino Mountains, I witnessed a bear come charging down a hill only about hundred feet in front of me. At first I thought the animal was a coyote, but after a couple of second I realized it was a bear. I was sure I was a goner since the bear had spotted me, but I stood frozen and started screaming at it. I really think that was not a good idea considering it was a bear, but I was having a panic attack. Surprisingly, or not so much, the bear decided to keep running in the diagonal path down the hillside and far away from me. I was perfectly okay with the bear chasing something else, but a little scared he might come back.

Fortunately later on I learned black bears in Southern California are not usually deadly, but I really do not want to take a chance. I guess some people feel comfortable making YouTube videos in the middle of nowhere around bears, but that is just not me. I have even heard of people chasing bears down the street with their iPhone, but that is one type of footage I could live without. My cavalier days of running out in the middle of nowhere I have fallen away. Also, I no longer live in the mountains, so I rarely go for hikes up there anymore.

I hid in a porta potty for about ten minutes since I was near a ranger's station, and then I came out and attempted to flag people down to give me a ride out of there. Honestly, looking back I should have just ran home, but at the time I was scared witless. I ended up flagging down a sheriff to give me a ride home, and I think he thought I was a little weird to be out there running. I should have just walked home because the bear was probably not going to come back, but I was so frightened. I miss going out in nature these days on my solo runs, but I never want to be that close to a bear or a mountain lion again. I did see a mountain lion once in the distance, but it ran away before I could think about it. I have seen many coyotes, and most of them never scared me at all. I once stopped in the forest to just look at the coyote and it also observed me. Once an alpha male coyote refused to run away when I started screaming at it, so I ran the other way.

I have no desire to be out in the middle of nowhere where I might be attacked by a wild animal again, and my days of tracking off by myself are over. Call me a chicken because that must be what I am!

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Comments 32 comments

girly_girl09 profile image

girly_girl09 7 years ago from United States

I would've had a panic attack, too, providing that a bear was charging towards me and there was no fence or glass divisor like at a zoo! I don't blame you, one bit! Thanks for sharing the story.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Girly,

I will never go out in the mountains by myself again. I think I was lucky I was not attacked, but apparently black bear attacks in Southern California are pretty low. Most attack when they are looking for human foods or near camp sites with trash, but I am not taking that risk anymore. I think I should have been more scared of the mountain lion.


girly_girl09 profile image

girly_girl09 7 years ago from United States

My family used to hike and take nature trips a lot when I was younger. I was always terrified of wild animals. Like you, I wouldn't take the risk either. Now that I'm older and have a choice of whether or not I'd go, you'd have to seriously entice me to take a nature hike!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Girly,

I miss the beauty of being in the mountains, which are only about thirty miles away. However, I would never go out by myself. When I went hiking with my family I felt a bit safer, but when I got on that kick of running out in the middle of nowhere I think I was being ridiculous. Some people do it all the time, but I guess they feel safe.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

I have met bears and coyotes but never a mountain lion. I live in the Sierras and they walk thro our back yard. We never go out into the woods alone. The bears have never taken any notice of us though, but not worth the risk.


ajm5050 profile image

ajm5050 7 years ago from NY

I'd much rather jog around my town or at the park than possible being eaten by a bear :-P But I could understand how you loved hiking in the mountains. I for one am very glad you didn't become bear lunch :)


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

OMG that must have been really scary. My daughter used to camp near Yellowstone Park, and saw bears a few times. She never had any run-ins with them, but I was always afraid that she might, every time she went camping there. I like your new avatar.


Pete Maida profile image

Pete Maida 7 years ago

I would definitely have wet pants after an experience like that. I am very happy to not be physically accessable to an animal that can tear me to pieces.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

Better a chicken and alive, then a bear’s lunch! Avoid the bear’s territory and all is well in both worlds…


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

Great hub, What complete life experience you have .


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Gypsy Willow, It is best not to go in the middle of nowhere honestly.

ajm,

I am glad too, and wonder how people can cooly film a bear from close proximity in the wild. I guess they are braver than I!


manlypoetryman profile image

manlypoetryman 7 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

Personally, I'm used to being out in the woods where there are no bears here in Texas. Although, It might be possible in some parts of the state? But, I did work once in the Smokie Mountains where it was very possible to come across black bears. I remember hearing instructions on staying away from cubs, "freezing", or playing dead, etc...if you saw one. My favorite related instruction was: "Run Down Hill...as fast as you can". A bear can not run as fast as you can downhill! Don't know if that's true...or not...Except I would have run down hill at Mach 1...if I had seen one up close!


Erick Smart 7 years ago

That is a freightening experience. I was running once in the Rockies and rounded the corner to a large bear. When it stood up to get a better look at me I could see just how much bigger it was and thought I was in trouble. I was lucky and the bear did not give chase, but it still had my heart pounding.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

manypoetryman,

I probably did the wrong thing, but I sort of scream at it. I had a panick attack, so it is best I am not around bears again lol.

Erick,

I am glad you were lucky too. I totally freaked out after my bear experience!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Hello, sweetpie! When I was living in the Hudson Valley Region of New York, I encountered a mountain lion while I was driving in autumn and then two small black bear cubs on a dirt road during a winter storm. The cubs were adorable as you could imagine...They were so close to my car that I probably could have pet them from my window but didn't dare to. If ever you see bear cubs, the mother is always nearby. Good story.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

alekhouse,

Sorry I missed your comment earlier. Internet Explorer keeps crashing on me, so I did not see it. Thanks for the comment on my new avatar. Camping in Yellow Stone must be fun, but I would not want to see a bear. If you go to youtube and type in bear sightings apparently many people have caught this on tape, and I have included a video of one such siting.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Pete,

When I was younger once a bear came up to our window and knocked over our trash can, and that was scary. Seeing it in person was even more so!

Nancy,

I agree, I no longer want to spend time with bears. Did not really choose to that time, but I thought it was a coyote, then I realized it was a bear. Maybe the bear was chaing a coyote, since I had seen coyotes run down those same hills.

Agusfanani,

I could have lived without the wild life though.

dohn,

You are right, it is always good to avoid the cubs because the mom will protect her young with a vengeance. The good news is I hear black bear attacks are pretty rare in California, but I still do not want to take my chances.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Oh, gosh, I would have been terrified and probably scream too! Glad you didn't become bear lunch and you are here to write in Hubpages!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

VioletSun,

I am glad too. That was the end of that little ritually, but it is really pretty out there. I think about that place a lot, but too scary to be out there by myself for sure!


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Most wild animals won't hurt you if you don't frighten or challenge them. But there is always an exception and you never want to be that one. Glad you are safe.


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 7 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

God was with you!!!! Amen!!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Very good points RGraf about how animals do not usually attack. I am glad though as you said hat I did not end up getting hurt.

drpastorcarlotta,

I was definitely thankful!


ocbill profile image

ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

wow. just goes to shwo you that you can't take the adventure or explorer out of a person. Jst let them live. It reminds me of times I went mountain biking in the "santa monica mountains" and signs of beware of mountain lions were evident. the hell with that. I finally getto the top, see the whole coatline from high above then there's excellent ride downhill.A s I ride down I noticed a torn chain link fence on the side near some trees. No, nobody lives waay up there. This trail is for hikers and mtn bikers. It was kind of like the scene out of Jurassic park. Good thing I am not small in height or the big cat (if it was there) may have gotten some  mealtime ideas. anyway just carry a big stick or a handy tool, wear a helmet, and all is fine to me.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I just too scared to go out there alone. With other people I would have a better chance if I were attacked, but being small and not so strong I do not want to risk it by myself.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

A large cat jumped out of the trash at roadside rest area in a remote part of south Texas one time. I tossed the trash in a barrel sized garbage receptacle and this cat came bounding out and in to the darkness. It was huge, as large as me but since I startled him he ran off. I was too shocked to feel fear.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glad you were able to react clearly though C.S. Alexis. Once I saw a mountain lion in the distance and did not really even think about it. The bear really scared me though.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I've never been up close to a bear and I'll be scared too. The hub I wrote about a bear was about a painting I made which is very different hehehe. Glad you are safe. :-)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Ripplemaker,

I love your bear painting hub. I have drawn a few cutesy bears in my day, and they really do not remind me of the one I saw out runnning.


Justcallmeleroy 7 years ago

I live in Florida and have seen a Mother Black Bear and her two cubs. They are all over the country she was about the same size as the one in the Video so they are about like that here to but allot more elusive so not many people see them. Be Careful Bye


Rob Dee profile image

Rob Dee 7 years ago from Florida

If it was a black bear, you did the right thing by screaming at it.....


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Justcallmereoy,

I will try to stay safe. No more bear run ins for me :).

Rob Dee,

Yes it was a black bear. Good to hear that!


Jenny30 profile image

Jenny30 7 years ago from Canada

my goodness! Sooo scary! I have a cabin not to far from where I live and there are always bears around there! Great hub!

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